Household aerosols such as air fresheners, deodorants and furniture polishes have overtaken cars as a source of smog-polluting chemicals in the UK, according to a new study.
This has led scientists to urge people to swap these products for roll-on deodorants and hair gels – because small changes can lead to big changes in air quality.
Researchers looked at emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – chemicals found in aerosols – which are less damaging than the chlorofluorocarbons they replaced in the 1980s.
However, these chemicals can cause photochemical smog when combined with nitrogen oxide in sunlight.
While vehicles were responsible for most VOC emissions in the 2000s, scientists found that the use of catalytic converters on vehicles and the recovery of fuel vapors at gas stations led to a rapid decline.
In contrast, the global amount of VOCs emitted from aerosols is increasing every year as low- and middle-income economies grow and people in those countries increase their consumption.
Currently, VOCs are used in about 93% of all aerosols, according to the study.
Researchers are now calling for the use of less harmful nitrogen as a propellant, as well as a wider awareness of how VOCs can pollute.
The article, published in Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, found that the world’s population now uses more than 25 billion cans per year – which is expected to result in the release of 1.3 million tonnes of VOCs of air pollution per year .
This could reach 2.2 million tonnes of VOCs in the air by 2050, causing people to switch products.
Professor Alastair Lewis, director of the National Center for Atmospheric Science in Leeds, said: “Virtually all aerosol-based consumer products can be delivered in non-aerosol form, for example in dry form or …
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This notice was published: 2021-04-29 06:48:00